AUSTIN, Texas – An Austin high school valedictorian who described herself as "undocumented" in a tweet touting her academic accomplishments says she didn't intend to cause offense.
Mayte Lara graduated last week from Crockett High School. She told the Austin-American Statesman Wednesday that she just wanted to show that anyone can succeed, regardless of barriers.
Her tweet read: "Valedictorian, 4.5GPA, full tuition paid for at UT, 13 cords/medals, nice legs, oh and I'm undocumented."
The tweet generated a barrage of negative comments online, most calling for her to leave the country and expressing anger at her University of Texas scholarship.
Kylie Fitzpatrick, a media relations specialist at UT-Austin, said in a statement to KXAN-TV in Austin that Ibarra’s scholarship was in accordance with Texas state laws. The statement read:
“Texas universities — including the University of Texas schools — have for decades granted two-semester tuition waivers to valedictorians of Texas public high schools, without regard to their residency status.”
“State law also does not distinguish between documented and undocumented graduates of Texas high schools in admissions and financial aid decisions. University policies reflect that law.”
Lara has Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status, which protects certain youths from deportation if they were brought into the U.S. illegally as children. It allows them to work and study in the U.S.
Lara's tweet went viral and was retweeted more than 9,000 times as of June 3. The account now appears to have been deactivated.